ELLICOTTVILLE — Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville opened for skiing and snowboarding Friday and celebrated the opening of a new chairlift.
The new $4.1 million Yodeler Express Quad, a state-of-the-art detachable chairlift, was christened and made its maiden climb to the top of the slope just before 9 a.m.
Members of the Win-Sum Ski Corp. board of directors cut a ribbon to open the chairlift and toasted its opening with Champagne.
Holiday Valley president and general manager Dennis Eshbaugh, Mountain Operations Director Steve Crowley and Mountain Manager Jim Curtis rode the first chairlift up Friday morning along with a contest winner, 13-year-old Mason Kruder of Pittsburgh.
The contest was for people to tell Holiday Valley why they should be on the first new Yodeler chairlift up the mountain. According to Holiday Valley Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh, Mason sent a photo of himself dressed as a gold chairlift during the costume parade last spring.
The Holiday Valley mountain crew built the new detachable chairlift over last spring and summer after dismantling the old chairlift. A crane will be used to place the towers for the new lift from Doppelmayr USA of Salt Lake City.
The new chairlift is the same one in use on some other slopes at the resort. Its detachable feature slows the chair and makes it easier and safer to load at the base and unload at the summit. Fewer stops will mean a smoother and faster ride to the top.
Despite recent warmer temperatures Holiday Valley had been able to make enough snow during cold nights to open two chairlifts and five slopes on Friday as resort officials — and skiers and snowboarders — had hoped.
The new Yodeler Express Quad and the Tannenbaum Quad will whisk people to five trails available for skiers and snowboarders. Besides Yodeler, the Tannenbaum, Candy Cane, Upper Crystal and Sugar Plum slopes are open.
Lifts will be open today and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing will begin Dec. 10.
The Yodeler parking lot was full, said Jane Eshbaugh. “There were a lot of pass holders skiing.” She said the new Yodeler Quad Express was “a nice smooth ride” on her way up the slope Friday to check out conditions.
“There’s a three- to 30-inch base of manmade snow with some thin spots,” she said. “The surface is machine-groomed.”